Sept. 9, 2010
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming women's golf team enters the 2010-11 season with several reasons for optimism.
The Cowgirls will hit the fairways for the first time this fall, beginning Monday in the Ram Fall Classic in Fort Collins, Colo. The two-day event, which begins at 8:30 a.m. both days, will feature some of the nation's top programs, including several top-25 teams.
But Wyoming won't be intimidated by the level of competition. The Cowgirls had two individuals finish in the top 15 last season and the team has posted three of its five lowest rounds in history at Ptarmigan Country Club.
"We've had a lot of good success at this event," Wyoming women's coach Josey Stender said. "I think our expectations are pretty high for the returners. It's a really, really strong field, so I think if we can finish anywhere in the middle of the pack, we'll be really pleased with that."
The Cowgirls will contend with conference foes New Mexico and Colorado State, along with top-25 programs like Oregon, Louisville and San Jose State. Other premier programs like San Francisco, Colorado and Long Beach State also will be there.
"It's a regional field but it's really, really strong," Stender said. "It kind of sets the tone at least for the next few events after this."
Wyoming will lean on the experience of senior Molly Black and junior Juanita Rico to guide the team, and will count on contributions from others like freshman Stacey Blunt and Jenna Zamprelli, who redshirted last season as a junior. Sophomore Dana Zamprelli also will return after a successful freshman campaign.
Black set the low individual event score in Wyoming history with her 4-under 68 on the first day of the Ram Fall Classic last season, finishing 11th in the field.
But Stender already can tell this is a team that won't settle for slight improvement - the golfers want more than that.
"We've probably haven't ever set this high of goals as a team since I've been here," said Stender, who enters her sixth year as the head women's coach. "I think it just shows you that they believe in the talent that we have and the work they've put into it. You can't control what anybody else does, and obviously you are playing against the golf course, but they do have a lot of high expectations for themselves and each other."
Stender also is counting on the team chemistry and unity to help get the Cowgirls to the next level.
"There's kind of an internal leadership that they have and I think in any sport, you ask any coach, they want that," Stender said. "But I think it's harder to find in an individual sport, so they all work toward the same goals as a team. That's definitely our strength."
Live scoring will be available on www.golfstat.com.